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Call 6: How to protect loved one in nursing home

Posted at 6:01 PM, Sep 15, 2015

In light of the FBI investigation, Call 6 Investigates is hearing from families with loved ones in American Senior Communities facilities who are concerned about patient care.

At this time, sources say the raid is related to possible kickbacks as well as Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements, and is unrelated to the care of patients.

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American Senior Communities has not responded to requests for comment.

The nursing home operator has 94 facilities across Indiana and Kentucky, with thousands of patients living at those facilities.

If you are concerned about the care of your family member at an ASC facility or any nursing home, you can file a complaint with the Indiana State Department of Health or contact the Indiana Long-Term Care Ombudsman .

MORE | File a complaint about a healthcare facility

The Center for At-Risk Elders, a public interest law firm that advocates for the rights of the elderly, said families can also start by speaking with a nursing home’s nursing staff and administrator.

“It’s really the management and the staff on duty there that determines how good the care is,” said Ken Bennett, executive director and senior counsel for the Center for At-Risk Elders. “So if you have a nursing facility with a good administration, good social workers, good nursing staff, and lower turnover, those are all things that demonstrate where good care will likely be provided.”

Bennett said the key is for families to be vigilant.

“You have to be persistent as a family member in airing your concerns, and doing so in a respectful, professional and persistent way,” said Bennett.

Bennett said American Senior Communities is considered a “major player” in Indiana when it comes to long term and nursing home care.

“I’m concerned (about the raid),” said Bennett. “I don't know anything about this case or what is being investigated, but there's thousands of people's lives who are at risk. These are vulnerable people.”

Bennett said two-thirds of nursing home patients in the country are on Medicaid, and that Medicaid is considered less profitable for nursing homes than Medicare and private insurance.

“The reimbursement rates under Medicare are higher than Medicaid,” said Bennett. “We have to find ways of better funding our long term costs because therein lies a lot of problems. You have an industry that’s probably under compensated in terms of the reimbursement rates that they should be getting, but you also have a lack of incentives for for-profit nursing homes that are spending the money for good care.”